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in point of principle, when the noble lord vinced as I am of the impropriety of conhimself had found them so far unobjec- tinuing to discuss it here. This considetionable. But if they should be carried, ration I should have hoped would have and the committee should then pause, had some weight with the right hon. genthere would stand on the records of the tleman, and have taught him not to perHouse, some declarations which, however sist in the pledge which he so boldly gave moderate, pointed towards a union; and in the course of the first debate on this there would appear sufficiently intelligible subject. The right hon. gentleman detraces of a censure on the conduct of go- clared, that to accomplish a union of the vernment in the late dismissals, which, he two kingdoms should be the object of his trusted, would yet be retracted on the life. The House will, however, do well one side, and forgotten on the other, that to pause before they advance farther. nothing might remain to rankle, and keep The question now before us is, whether alive the animosities, to which the speech we are willing to second the pledge which from the throne had unhappily given birth the right hon. gentleman has given? The in the sister-kingdom.
right hon. gentleman has before now The question being put, That his ma- duped the people with his pledges, and he jesty's Message be referred to the consi- may, perhaps, think proper at last to deration of a committee of the whole abandon this. Be that as it may, nothing House, the House divided :
could so much tend to increase the evils Tellers.
which at present exist in Ireland, as this SLord Hawkesbury
House sanctioning the present pledge of YEAS
140 Mr. Douglas
the right hon. gentleman.
The effect of that pledge must be conNors Mr. St. Andrew St. John
15 siderable on the people of Ireland. It
will produce much irritation, and inflame The House accordingly resolved itself all those discontents which have already into the committee: Mr. Douglas in the occasioned so much misery in that counchair. The resolutions having been read try. If adopted by this House, the misin the committee, the House was resumed, chief woulả be still greater. It is difficult and the committee obtained leave to sit to conceive what object he proposes to again on Thursday.
himself by proceeding in this measure.
What advantage will bis argument of the Feb. 7. On the order of the day being necessity of a union receive from the read for the House to resolve itself into a House joining in his pledge, when the committee, to consider further of his Ma- Irish House of Commons has already dejesty's Message respecting the proposed cided against it? If the House sanctions union with Ireland,
the project of the right hon. gentleman Mr. Sheridan said :-Having on the the two uses of Commons of Great two former occasions, in which the present Britain and Ireland will be placed in opsubject was under discussion, trespassed position to each other, and the situation a good deal on the attention of the of these kingdoms will be more alarming, House, I feel it incumbent upon me to than that in which any two countries protake up as little of their time as possible fessing amity for each other ever before now. I shall therefore only urge a few of stood. Does the right bon. gentleman the many reasons which might be ad not know, that while he declares his devanced in support of the resolutions I in termination to persist in this measure, the tend to move. Indeed, I think it the Irish will fancy they can penetrate the more incumbent on me to say less at pre- means to which he will resort to carry it? sent than I otherwise should, because If he do not succeed on the present occathough at the commencement of the de- sion, they must be convinced that he only bates on this measure I had the singula- waits for a moment when Ireland shall be rity of standing alone in opposition to the more weak to carry his favourite project, right hon. gentleman's project, yet several and that intimidation and corruption are gentlemen knowing the irritation pro- the engines he proposes to use. But it duced in the public mind by the agita- ought to be recollected, that the Irish tion of this question, and knowing the parliament do not look upon their conmarked disapprobation the mere sugges- nexion with us as a boon-they claim to tion of the measure has received from the be independent. If, then, the right hon. Irish parliament, are now as much con- gentleman has sincerely pledged himself, [VOL. XXXIV.]
there is no other course left for Ireland to in somewhat a different manner. He take, but to guard against the influence would incorporate a few of the represenand the power of the British parliament. tatives of the people of Ireland in the It has been observed, that Ireland cannot British parliament. With respect to the exist without the support of this country; means by which these measures were to and a noble friend of the right hon. gen- be carried into effect, they are also tleman has held out a threat of withdraw- agreed. The united Irishmen said, they ing from Ireland that protection to which knew better what was good for Ireland she is indebted for her safety, and without than all the rest of the people of Ireland which she neither could defend herself did : the right hon. gentleman has said against a foreign enemy, nor survive in the same thing of himself. Like hiin, too, testine warfare. Thus the people of Ire- the united Irishmen did not scruple to land are plainly told what is to be the make use of corruption to gain their obconsequence of their refusing to surrender ject: they resorted to force and intimidatheir independent legislature. The House tion; the right hon. gentleman has done then is called upon to put the two coun the same. The only difference between tries in a situation the most perilous and the two was, that the united Irishmen, frightful.
conceiving their parliament to be the It is curious to observe the arguments mere tools of England, were for deposing which the right hon. gentleman and his it, and setting up a republican form of friends have used in support of the mea- government with foreign assistance; while sure. One would be tempted to think, the right hon. gentleman is for merging the that the right hon. gentleman had formed Irish representation into that of England: a coalition with the united Irishmen, with his plan, as well as theirs, proposes the exwhom he seems to be perfectly agreed in tinguishing of the parliament of Ireland, five out of six of their leading principles. and the means he uses to insure sucThe united Irishmen wished to destroy cess, are the same as those to which they the present constitution of Ireland; this resorted. is also the object of the right hon. gentle- The question, then, which we have now man. The united Irishmen declared the to consider is, whether a British parliaparliament of Ireland to be the cause of ment will second the right hon. gentleman all the miseries with which that country in his project, and sanction this similarity had been afflicted: the right hon. gen- between him and the leaders of that retleman has brought forward the same ac- bellion, which the House Jately so much cusation against them. Theunited Irishmen deplored. It was once observed by an charged the legislature of their country hon. friend of mine, in speaking of an with being the dupe of the English party: hon. member of this House, that he had a the right hon. gentleman also ascribes all temper so pugnacious and so obstinate, the distractions and all the misfortunes of that if he saw two persons fighting in the Ireland, to the influence of a British face streets he would never think of separating tion over the parliament of Ireland. It is them, but would rather insist that they not, indeed, to the faction which he heads should go on and fight it out. This was there, that he ascribes this influence, but said by an amateur of the art of puhe has asserted, that it was exerted by gilism, at a time when that honourable one, at the head of which the duke of science was held in greater repute than it Portland stood, and of which his hon. is now, But with whatever truth it may friend near him (Mr. Windham) was a have been said, I should hope that no semember. He has told us, that that fac- cretary at war would wish to see a legislation made a tool of the Irish parliament tive battle of the kind with which we are to answer its own purposes; and the now threatened, but that he would rather united Irishmen have repeatedly made wish to separate the combatants when he the same assertion : thus they are agreed should know that they were the Irish paras to the evil. They are also agreed as liament and the British chancellor of the to the remedy ; for they both prescribe a exchequer. Let the battle, however, be revolution-delenda est Carthago is the fought when it may, it will not be uninmaxim of both; the Irish parliament, teresting. Each party is well seconded. they agree, must be destroyed, and this is The chancellor of the exchequer has two made the grand cure. The united Irish- allies-corruption and intimidation. The men and the right hon. gentleman have people of Ireland have two allies also-hoproposed to apply their remedy, however, nour and resolution ;-honour to resist the
corruption, and resolution to laugh at the right hon. gentleman must show that the intimidation of the right hon. gentleman. state of Ireland would have this day been We have been told, that the existence of better than it now is, if a union had taken Ireland depends upon this project being place at a former period : he must prove carried. This I deny. The proposition io us, that the adoption of this measure has not, and never can be made out; but it would have prevented insurrection, siis a melancholy consideration that the right lenced discontents, united discordant in. hon. gentleman should obstinately persist terests, and conciliated the exasperated in his scheme, after the solemn manner in feelings and irritable passions of the which it has been rejected by the parlia- country. Unless he do this, his case is ment of Ireland, and after he knows in not made out, and upon this ground I am what detestation it has been held by the willing to rest the merits of the discussion. great majority of the people of that coun. Doubtless there is much to be done in the try. If the right hon. gentleman should way of reform and improvement in Irecontinue in the same temper, the people land; but to do this it surely is not necesof Ireland may naturally be expected to sary to pull down the credit and authoresort to every method of precaution, cal rity of parliament. I should not have exculated to defeat his scheme, and to op-pected this conduct from the right hon. pose the influence which be would exer- gentleman, whom I have so often heard cise over them by the weight and example declaim against that spirit of innovation of the British parliament.
which is prone to overthrow instead of Much has been said upon the corruption propping and repairing ancient instituand misgovernment of the Irish parlia- tions. I should not have expected that ment; and it is not a little extraordinary he would be the first to lay violent hands that these imputations should come from upon the Irish parliament. Bad as he those mouths which not long since poured has represented that parliament, and howforth eulogiums on that very parliament ever blamable it may have been, it has which they now so grossly libel. I am certainly recovered much of its credit and far from pretending that the Irish parlia- character by the noble stand it has made ment is free from blame. I do not mean in defence of the liberties and independence to say that it has never neglected its duty, of the country. nor over-stretched its power. I ascribe The argument that the right hon. gentleto it no infallibility: but when the right man and his friend used when they ashon. gentleman has so lately pronounced serted that a union was indispensable to the that parliament which he now censures continuation of the connexion between the saviour of Ireland-when he has, the two countries, I cannot admit. I through the medium of the viceroy, con- deny that we have no alternative but segratulated them on the suppression of an paration or union. The real alternative insurrection, and on the defeat of an in- is, that the Irish government should no vading enemy, I may be allowed to state longer continue to be a corrupt English it as an argument against the right hon. job. Is it meant to be asserted that there gentleman, that after giving the parlia. is some innate depravity in the Irish chament of Ireland credit for doing so much racter which renders them unfit to have a good to the country, he has no right, and parliament of their own ? No, the cause indeed he cannot with consistency, charge of the corruption which has been comthem with corruption and misrule, and plained of is obvious. The government pretend that this new charge of his shows of Ireland has been made a job of for the the necessity of the measure he wishes advantage of English ministers. This is the House to agree to. That the parlia- the corruption, this is the evil that has ment of Ireland has sometimes fallen into pervaded it from first to last, but be. errors; that many of the evils which exist fore Ireland be required to surrender her in Ireland, might have been remedied by independence, let at least a trial be made them—these are propositions which I of what can be done by an honest Irish am not inclined to deny; but I shall al-parliament; by a parliament uninfluenced ways contend, that a union is not the by a British minister, by a parliament cure for the evils complained of, and that having the interest and the happiness of a British legislature can never correct the Ireland for its object, and looking to Irish political defects, or remove the distresses prosperity and Irish gratitude for its reof Ireland, so effectually as its own legis- ward. Let it not be a parliament looking lature. To maintain this position, the only to St. James's, but one that shall
have the advantage of the country con- by a union. A noble lord has, however, stantly in view. Let this experiment at asserted, that a union would not increase least be tried before the annihilation of the number of absentees, but that, on the the Irish parliament be proposed. I am contrary, it would make gentlemen reside certain that nothing can be done in this more on their estates than they now do, way which would not tend to strengthen He contends that the importance of a the bonds that unite the two countries ; seat in the imperial legislature will make and I deny that we are driven to the al- the Irish landlords anxious to cultivate ternative stated by the right hon. gentle- the affections of their tenants. This, man. In the position in which the two instead of conciliating, seems rather calcountries are now imprudently placed, if culated to insult the feelings of the peothere were a disposition to separation, that ple. They were to be told when the abdisposition must be greatly increased. sentee came to canvass, that he was not The right hon. gentleman holds out that now soliciting a seat in the puny and miIreland is helpless and dependent: he serable House of Commons of their own threatens the country with a measure it country, but in the imperial legislature : detests, and drives the people to take this is, however, a very singular argument, every, precaution against the corruption since it goes to prove, that men become and the intimidation with which he me- kinder landlords in proportion as their lenaces them. The right hon. gentleman gislative duty places them at a greater has displayed much eloquence in de distance from their tenants; that they scribing the political defects of the go- will be better neighbours, in consequence vernment of Ireland, but he will not suc- of only visiting their estates once in twelve ceed in persuading the people that all the months, and that they will all at once beadvantages he promises them from a union come humane, generous, and benevolent, cannot be as fully enjoyed under a parlia- from the worst of motives. It is surely ment in their own country. It seems to no great compliment to the gentlemen of be a favourite maxim with him and his Ireland, to state that they are only likely friends, that it is not possible there can to do good from motives such as these. be a good government in Ireland. The The noble lord must certainly have a very absurdity of this assertion is too obvious high idea of the impression that will be to require refutation. On a former occa- made upon the Irish members when they sion Î observed that the character and enter this imperial House. He, perhaps, habits of the people of Ireland were such pictures to himself, the hundred Irish as would render the removal of their le- | knights struck dumb with astonishment gislature fatal to their industry and ruin- and awe: he doubtles imagines that they ous to the nation. Indeed it is my con- will all possess the kind of diffidence which firmed opinion, that if ever there was a used to distinguish former Speakers of country in which a tangible, visible, and this House, who were always forced into resident government was necessary, that the chair, until you, Sir, set another excountry is Ireland. The right hon. gen- ample. The noble lord possibly expects tleman has told us, that Ireland will ob. that it will be necessary to order the sertain great commercial advantages in coo- jeant at arms to force the Irish members sequence of a union. Why not give Ire- into the imperial House, and that they Jand those advantages without a union? will be confounded, that they will actuHe has told us that the situation of the ally crawl in upon all fours, and all this Catholics and the Dissenters will be im- the noble lord tells us will make them proved; but he has not said why these kinder landlords and better neighbours ! ameliorations should not take place with. This sort of argument is not very well Qut a union. If, indeed, Ireland is to be calculated to conciliate the good will of regarded as a conquered country, then the Irish. But it is needless to dwell longer there is an end to all arguments of this kind. on this. The Irish are not so dull and If gentlemen proceed upon this principle, stupid a race as not to see its tendency. they should come boldly forward and I shall therefore proceed to make the mostate it.
tion of which I gave notice. I believe It is generally admitted that the dis- there are few that will not agree to the tress and poverty of the lower orders in first part of the resolution. It contains & Ireland is, in a great measure, owing to truism, which if the right hon. gentleman the number of absentees. This evil, had not already declared he would oppose, it was observed, would be increased I should not have expected would have
been objected to by any one. Mr. She opinion among the members of the goridan then moved, “ That no measures vernment, it has always been seized
upon can have a tendency to improve and per- with avidity, and quoted as a mark of the petuate the ties of amity and connexion insincerity of administration. I have now existing between Great Britain and heard it stated from gentlemen on the Ireland, which have not for their basis the other side, that the not permitting a lord manifest, fair, and free consent of the two lieutenant to dismiss all the servants of countries ; and that, whoever shall endea. the crown at his will, was fettering his vour to obtain, the appearance of such hands in an unprecedented manner, and consent and approbation in either king-depriving him of his legal and constitudom, by employing the influence of go- tional authority. It is impossible, therevernment, for the purposes of corruption fore, for the hon. gentleman to assert that and intimidation, is an enemy to his ma- doctrine, unless he means to apply it to the jesty and to the constitution of his coun- particular instances to which I have alluded; try:
and if he does not mean to apply it to Mr. Pitt said :-The hon. gentleman's those instances, it is then open to the obmotion divides itself into two parts. The jections which applied against the first first states that no measure of union part of his motion. The instance which should be pursued without the fair, and hon. gentlemen have particularly fixed free, consent of the two countries. This, their attention upon, is not one of an exSir, as the hon. gentleman has himself traordinary nature; it is the necessary stated, is a truism. It was never attacked, consequence of an established system; it it cannot be controverted, and must be as. grows out of the very nature of all gosented to as soon as stated. But the ar- vernments, where there exist the necessity gument, which the hon. gentleman has of all the members acting together. Upon adduced as decisive in favour of his mo- the grounds which I have stated I shall tion, is a decisive argument against it. If move the order of the day. a thing be true, there requires no decla- Mr. Grey said, he could not see why ration to give it effect, and all such at the right hon. gentleman should cavil so tempts are useless and nugatory; but long upon the word truism, upon which more particularly ought it to be an argu- he asserted that his hon. friend has ment against it, when actual truth includes grounded his resolutions. It was a trupractical falsehood: upon this point it is ism, if he pleased so to call it, but it was not necessary that I should say more. one which contained a proposition that The second part of the motion states, that was truly stated, and which he felt to be whoever should, by corruption or intimi- a sufficient ground for his assenting to dation, attempt to carry the question, is the first part of the resolutions, if not to an enemy to his country. This unques- the second. He could see nothing but tionably goes the length of insinuating, danger in the discussion of the question, that such conduct has been pursued; it particularly as it would affect the public undoubtedly alludes to the case of a high mind in Ireland. The House, in his opiofficer in the sister kingdom, who has nion, should have resisted it in the first quitted his situation on account of his dis- stage; but, above all they should not now agreement with his colleagues in an im. leave it in the power of ministers to bring portant fundamental measure of govern- forward the measure whenever they ment. Now, Sir, if several gentlemen are pleased, and thus keep Ireland in conticonnected together with the honourable nual dread, that intimidation or corrupintention of acting for the service of their tion may continue to attempt the introcountry, it is necessary, in order to pre- duction of a measure which her parliaserve a unity of action, that they should ment has decided against.
Such must be agree in their system; and it is an error the opinion created in the public mind of to suppose that the resignation, or even Ireland, not merely by the moving of the dismissal, of any one, is a symptom of such a measure, but the avowed determicorruption and intimidation. The hon. nation of the right hon. gentleman to pergentleman well knows the necessity of a
severe in it.
The resolution therefore harmony of conduct among the several went to relieve Ireland from these appremembers of administration. The hon. hensions, and to let her know that this gentleman will not deny it in any place House entertained no idea of countebut this House. If upon any occasion nancing a measure that did not meet with there has chanced to exist a difference of their fair and free consent and approba